Throughout history, women have always been stereotyped as the more talkative gender. People who talk too much are known as Chatty Cathys and there is no male equivalent. Talkative Tim? Spechifying Simon? Mansplaining Marty? They don't exist.
Just consider the famous quotes about women: "A woman's tongue wags like a lamb's tail, never still," and "Many women, many words."
As the stereotypes go, women have been unfairly labeled as gossipers who sit around the proverbial "sewing circle" telling tales out of school.
This stereotype of chatty, gossipy women has rendered their speech to be perceived as frivolous, compared to men whose contrite manner of speaking is seen as virtuous. The old saying he was a "man of few words" is usually seen as a positive trait.
On a deeper level, the devaluing of women's speech due to the belief that they are careless with words means that they're often uncomfortable when speaking up in professional settings.
Psychologist Victoria Brescoll says that "institutional power encourages men but discourages women from talking more, as powerful women fear a backlash that is absent for men when taking on a greater share of the conversational floor."
The assumption that women talk more than men is generally accepted by most people. However, according to research, it isn't true. In fact, it only took artist Abraham Piper from Minneapolis, Minnesota, about a minute to debunk the myth recently on TikTok.
In his video, Piper cites a study by researchers Deborah James and Janice Drakich published in 1993. The meta-analysis revealed that only two of 56 studies found that women talk more than men and that 34 of them said men talk more than women.
Another study by psychologist James Pennebaker fitted men and women in the U.S and Mexico with a device that records 30-second snippets of sound every 12.5 minutes. Pennebaker found that women spoke an average of 16,215 words a day while the men spoke 15,669. A pretty negligible difference.
Piper also points out that a big reason for the recent perpetuation of the myth that it was popularized by a major figure on the Christian right.
"It was first published and popularized by James Dobson. That's right the mega-famous Christian conservative psychologist of Focus on the Family," Piper says.
In Dobson's book "Love for a Lifetime," he incorrectly states that "research tells us" God gives a woman 50,000 words a day, while her husband only gets 25,000.
Dobson then extrapolates that this causes tension in the home because men come home from work and they've used up their entire word budget for the day and their wives are just rearing to go.
Piper notes that Dobson's stat is often cited by well-meaning psychologists who never did their research, "So many people believe it."
The good news is that Piper's video has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people, so maybe it'll work to change public perception.
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